No ice is 100% safe ice. And unfortunately, sometimes that ice can break free and float away with you on it. That's what happened on Upper Red Lake in Northern Minnesota on Monday.

The Beltrami County Sheriff's office received a 911 call at 11:34 am from people who were ice fishing. They said a large chunk of ice broke free from the shoreline, and they had about 100 people were stranded, according to the caller. They were surrounded by about 30 yards of open water.

Beltrami County Sheriff's Office
Beltrami County Sheriff's Office

First responders used drone operations to assess the situation and came up with an evacuation plan. They found a narrow spot where they were able to deploy a temporary bridge.

The first responders also wanted to make sure that everyone out on the ice knew about the situation and knew to get off. The Beltrami County Emergency Management then issued an alert to cell phone users in the area about the situation, with coordinates for the evacuation bridge.

Beltrami County Sheriff's Office
Beltrami County Sheriff's Office

Within 3 hours everyone was off the ice. They estimate the actual number of people rescued to be approximately 200. The Beltrami Sheriff's Office reminds people that early ice is very unpredictable and that no ice is 100% safe.

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I've had some friends who have already been on Red Lake ice fishing this season. They said that the ice thickness was 3-5" last week when they were out. The DNR recommends at least 4" of clear ice for people to walk on.

Many anglers hit up Red Lake in "early ice" season claiming it's the best time of year to fish for walleye. Remember to be careful out there, and check ice thickness regularly.

These types of rescues happen more often than you think. Just last year a bunch of anglers had to be rescued from Lake Superior in Duluth.

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